Features

Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge Hands On – Better than eyes can see

Published

on

Two months of collective restraint from the world’s most powerful smartphone companies have led up to this day in Barcelona. If this were Hollywood, today would be the Oscars, maybe even more exciting. Today, tightly guarded secrets finally see the light of day, leaks that couldn’t wait to be revealed are confirmed, and expectations that have kept the tech industry at a standstill are either quenched or met with utter disappointment.

In a span of just two years, Korean smartphone giant Samsung has been on the receiving end of both criticism and praise. Its 2014 smartphone the Galaxy S5, with its plasticky build and faux leather stylings was a big miss while its 2015 attempt the glass and metal Galaxy S6 was for the most part, everything its demanding user base clamoured for.

Today as they unveil their latest Pièce De Résistance or as the Spanish say the Plato Fuerte, Samsung hopes for a repeat of last year’s performance. 

I’ve seen and held the new Galaxy S7 and its curvier big brother the Galaxy S7 Edge – both are great phones, not blow your mind phones, but phones that deliver a certain level of contentment and satisfaction.

Call it managing expectations. For sure, a smartphone on the bleeding edge is what we tech journalists seek out. But at its core, if you strip away the pomp and hyperbole of a smartphone launch, see beyond the marketing speak, and allow enough time for the hype to die down, you’ll find that what everybody really wants is a smartphone they can be content with.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of those phones.

COMEBACK

Two key themes mark the design of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (from hereon out collectively referred to as the S7 unless otherwise stated) – giving back what was surreptitiously taken away, and improving on what has already been done right.

Like the S5 of two years past, the S7 has an IP68 rating that guarantees survival under fresh or pool water up to depths of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The only orifices on the phone are a micro USB charging port and headphone jack, both remain exposed but protected thanks to a new cap-less design.

The hybrid SIM tray on the S7 and S7 Edge takes two nano SIM cards or one SIM and on microSD card.

The hybrid SIM tray on the S7 and S7 Edge takes two nano SIM cards or one SIM and on microSD card.

The only removable part is its SIM card tray, lined with rubber stoppers to keep water out. The hybrid tray has two slots, one for a nano SIM, and the other for a micro SD (or a second nano SIM) card of up to 200GB in case the phone’s internal storage is not enough (32GB or 64GB depending on your region). The latter should appease critics who decried the absence of the expandable memory on the S6, and gives Samsung a leg up on Apple whose never made external cards an option on the iPhone. 

One feature not making a comeback is user replaceable batteries. Instead Samsung is giving the S7 and S7 Edge batteries with larger capacities. Up to 3000 mAh on the S7 and 3600 mAh on the S7 Edge. Both phones also support fast wired and wireless charging and take 95 minutes and 115 minutes (wired) and 130 and 150 minutes (wireless) respectively to charge from 0 to 100%.

DESIGN

If you’ve seen the S6 then the S7 won’t look dramatically different. The S7 is still mostly made up of glass and metal but now has slightly more rounded corners, a slightly more squarish home button, and a display that’s even more flushed against its sides.

samsung-galaxy-s7-curves

Both the S7 and S7 Edge are curvier than last years models thanks to new 3D glass.

The biggest design change can be seen and felt once you turn the phone around. The back of the of S7 now curves outward on both ends made from what Samsung calls 3D glass. It’s a simple but practical design change that’s made the phone less boxy, more ergonomic, and one that feels thinner than it actually is.

CAMERA

Samsung also improved the highly regarded camera of the S6.

While its shaved down the unsightly camera bump, everything else is bigger and better, including a faster f/1.7 lens and larger 1.4um pixel size.

samsung-galaxy-s7-camera

On paper the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have one of the best cameras seen on a smartphone ever.

The company is touting a new feature called dual pixel technology, something seen on high end professional cameras from Canon but never on a smartphone. The promise is even better low light performance and even faster focus speeds, up to 4x faster than its predecessor in low light.

Samsung is also making a bold move this year, cutting down on megapixels from 16 on the S6 to only 12 on the S7. In lieu of more megapixels you get larger pixels, a tradeoff that theoretically should deliver better looking photos across lighting conditions.

Double pressing on the home button still launches the camera app, and launch time is as fast as ever. From within the camera app Samsung has added a new Motion Panorama mode and made improvements to its Hyperlapse feature bringing down file sizes significantly so that it can be shared easily on the web.

Similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 6S, the S7’s selfie camera gets fill flash, not an actual front facing flash, but a sudden burst of light from your smartphone display.

POWER

Depending on where you are in the world the S7 will be powered by different processors, either an octa-core processor from Samsung (Exynos 8890) or a quad-core processor from Snapdragon (Snapdragon 820), both are promised to be up to 58% faster than last year’s models.

Memory-wise, 4GB of RAM is standard across the board.

Gamers will enjoy a new feature called Game Tools that allow you to take screenshots, record game play, turn off notifications while in game, and the ability switch to a power saving mode that reduces performance but saves on battery life. The phone also supports Vulcan API so game developers can tap into even more power saving and performance driving features in tandem with the phone.

S7 EDGE

Last year Samsung introduced two innovative new smartphones with curved screens, the 5.1-inch S6 Edge and 5.7 inch S7 Edge Plus. Both models have been consolidated into one product this year the 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 Edge. The change might sound confusing at first but it is a smart move that clearly defines Samsung’s top-of-the-line smartphone offerings which in 2016 are the Galaxy S7 (5.1 inches) Galaxy S7 Edge (5.5 inches) and Galaxy Note 5 (5.7 inches with a bundled stylus), none of which compete with each other in both feature set and screen size. 

Tasks Edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows users to set shortcuts to tasks within certain asks, soon even 3rd party ones

Tasks Edge on the Galaxy S7 Edge allows users to set shortcuts to tasks within certain asks, soon even 3rd party ones

Edge functionality on the S7 Edge has been expanded – the edge display is now two columns wide. The extra screen real estate means more space for 3rd party widgets. On top of “People Edge” (contact shortcuts) and “Apps Edge” (app shortcuts) Samsung is adding a third edge screen called “Task Edge” which allows you to create shortcuts to specific tasks within apps. For example you create a shortcut to launch the selfie camera, or compose a new SMS message. For now its Samsung apps only but the company is opening up Task Edge to third party developers so soon you should also be able to also create shortcuts for posting photos to Instagram and composing Tweets.

AVAILABILITY

It’s only been a few hours since the launch of the S7, not enough time to crown it the next best thing. In a week or so after this hype has died down, I should be able to assess how I truly feel about the device and determine whether or not it is a phone that delivers contentment. But by then the phone could already be in your hands.

In an effort to be the first flagship smartphone in stores this 2016, Samsung is pushing for an aggressive worldwide release. Both phones will be available in the United States on March 11th. The Philippine release is scheduled for March 19th, with gold and black 32GB variants of the S7 and S7 Edge retailing for Php 34990 and Php 39990 respectively.

[irp posts=”2481″ name=”Singapore is getting a taste of Samsung’s pink-gold Galaxy S7 phones”]

Accessories

Trip to the Big O: Getting off with the OPPO Enco X

Senses, overwhelmed

Published

on

OPPO Enco X

The following is intended for readers 18+

Touch and hearing — two things that I consider the most important when it comes to our sensual wellness. During my journey to taking better care of myself, I took some time exploring how to turn myself on. I learned how to master the art of self-pleasure for six years — and I got really creative about it.

With the pandemic raging on for more than a year now, I have served gospel towards self-care and pleasure to friends and colleagues alike. I helped keep their sex lives alive and combat their urges to go out and respond to their cravings for human flesh.

Vibrators, massagers, fleshlights, VR headsets — those were common toys I recommend to people starting to explore and own their sexuality. But a year of drought made things more boring and it’s time to spice it up.

In the quest to elevating the art of self-pleasure and self-care, the OPPO Enco X surprisingly turned the tables around.

A time to kick the beam

I was scrolling on Twitter and I stumbled upon one of my favorite creators, Le James, who was formerly half of the popular couple-slash-adult-creators called Okko.

Aroused at the sight of a French man with a glimmering tan and toned body, I went to his OnlyFans account — where I was subscribed — to get my La Petite Mort. Little death in French, IYKWIM.

My companion has always been Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live. However, I forgot to charge it when the opportunity to hop on a trip to the Big O arose. What lies next to it on my desk was the unsightly OPPO Enco X.

Frankly, I was averse to the idea of trying AirPods knock-offs because it lacks originality. And as a Leo with Libra placements, aesthetics matter to me.

OPPO Enco X

But the occasion called for it. So I reached and took out the pair of TWS earphones and plugged it into my ears. That’s when I knew I liked it. The way it sat comfortably in my ears, plugged in securely — I knew right then, it was going to be my companion as I kick the beam.

Senses overwhelmed

I didn’t realize how much sound matters in the art of self-pleasure until I used the Enco X. Since it was developed in partnership with Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio, the Enco X comes with Hi-Fi audio that’s well-around with some natural depth — it’s perfect for conquering your arousals.

In addition to that, having a decent active-noise cancellation (ANC) is a game-changer during your sensual sessions. Noise is blocked, senses are overwhelmed, and grumbles and rattles are delivered deep, textured, and immersive AF.

Whatever your preferred sensual interests are, the Enco X will definitely help turn you and your senses on.

OPPO Enco X

Also, its ANC comes with different options: max noise cancellation where you totally hear nothing aside from what you’re listening to, and noise cancellation that softens noise in certain environments (like cars driving past you).

There’s also a transparency mode so you can hear if someone is knocking on your door (or about to enter your room), or you can simply turn off ANC altogether.

Quick as a lightning bolt

One grungy afternoon, I was setting the mood to blow off some steam with my ex-paramour for the night — whom I reconnected with when I was sad, feeling isolated, and a bit of a wanton. I was alternating between my stash of erotic stories and lascivious audio clips that help me get ready to take off.

I was in the zone, seemingly unable to keep my hands to myself (thanks, ANC) until I heard a barrage of knocking on my door that I immediately pulled the earbuds out and put on my clothes.

OPPO Enco X

After dealing with the interruption while I was huffing and puffing, I put the earbuds back on. To my amazement, the device connected instantaneously, even if one of the pairs is still inside the case.

The flash-like connection is surely a plus in my book since time is of the essence when it comes to carnal urges. Even a split second of distraction can cancel out the build-up of heat you’ve worked hard on.

Though it has the ability to connect swiftly, both the earbuds and its charging case come with long-lasting battery life. And believe me, no one likes it when you drain quickly. You have to last as long as you can.

All the Dionysiac adventures you can do

The charging case lasted for more than a day, while the pair of earbuds lasted nearly four hours even with max noise cancellation on.

Of course, I didn’t spend the whole time pleasuring myself. I got a bunch of amorous affairs that I went on together with the Enco X.

OPPO Enco X

Some of them are doing workouts that help me improve my form in bed and in outdoor sports I enjoy. Other activities include sessions that made me focus on my breathwork and senses like yoga and meditation.

Sometimes, I play songs from my favorite musicians such as The Weeknd, Alina Baraz, and SZA to get my sultry body moving to its slow, voluptuous beat.

The perfect accompaniment when you want to feel sexy while doing deeds that make you want to churn the butter. For instance, reminding yourself that you are ~hot~ in front of the mirror or dancing alone in your room, naked.

And when things are getting steamy, the Enco X has intelligent controls that you can navigate with a single touch. Just like when you wank or flick the beans.

The new BFF in your bedroom

Above all, the Enco X has been exceptional for all kinds of adult entertainment. Whether it’s the sexiest shows on Netflix, or watching your favorite adult creators on OnlyFans perform and play with themselves.

Or even re-watching interviews of your favorite celebrities and listening to them speak *ahem* Chris Evans *ahem* Manny Jacinto *ahem* while you feel the bolt and shiver rush into your garden of delight or gospel pipe.

The OPPO Enco X undoubtedly helped me elevate the art of self-pleasure through bawdy experiences. It has everything you’ll need out of a pair of TWS earbuds — customizable active-noise cancellation, crisp and clean sound, instantaneous connection, long battery life, and responsive touch controls.

Not to mention, it has an IP54 rating so you can bring it to your bathtub should you decide to get intimate in your alone time. Just don’t get it all wet.

The OPPO Enco X retails for PhP 6,999. It comes in Black and White, and it’s available for purchase at OPPO Concept Stores, OPPO’s Shopee and Lazada Flagship Stores, and authorized retailers.

There’s also the OPPO Band which retails for PhP 1,699. When you’re in the OPPO ecosystem, it’s best to maintain it and stay connected. The OPPO Band can be adjusted depending on your comfort levels, and lets you receive messages and call notifications, or even navigate your music playback while you’re engulfed by your sensual sessions.

Continue Reading

Accessories

How I Upgraded My Smart Home with SwitchBot

Out of the ordinary smart home solutions

Published

on

Ever since moving into my new place at the start of this year, I’ve been on the look out for more ways to make my apartment smart. Watch this video as I walk you through these out of the ordinary solutions from SwitchBot.

These products might not seem like a big deal individually but watch them come together. Let’s start with a HUB Mini. You’ll need this so the devices can talk to each other and so that you can use voice controls. The SwitchBot Meter is for measuring both room temperature and humidity. The SwitchBot Bot is a handy dandy button presser. The SwitchBot Humidifier  does as its name implies. The Switch Bot Remote is a programmable button. Finally, the SwitchBot Curtain is for automatically opening and closing your curtains.

Try SwitchBot on Prime Day! Get 30% off http://my.gadgetmat.ch/SwitchBotPD (excluding SwitchBot Motion Sensor, SwitchBot Contact Sensor and SwitchBot Indoor Cam) on June 21, 00:00 PT to June 22, 23:59 PT

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Trese: The story behind the dubbing

What the process was like

Published

on

Trese
All images courtesy of Netflix

Much has been said about the dubbing work of the Netflix Animé series Trese. Everyone from showrunner Jay Oliva, Filipino voice talent Inka Magnaye, and that random Facebook friend you don’t really talk to anymore has weighed in.

We’re not going to get into details of what people have said. We’re sure there’s no shortage of that on social media. Rather, we’re here to explore what transpired in how the show came to be. Netflix arranged a media conference with the following key figures in the series:

  • Tanya Yuson — Series writer and co-producer
  • Wes Gleason — English cast and voice director
  • Rudolf Baldonado Jr. — Filipino voice director

English first 

Trese

The observation we made from our ‘What to expect’ article proved to be true. The whole series was indeed first dubbed in English and was then translated to Filipino and other languages later.

This was one of the many challenges that Baldonado Jr. had to deal with in translating the material to Filipino.

“What we got was already finished work. So the casting process for us is a little different because we had to consider who did the original first — what were the characters that they molded through their voices. And then, how the animators matched it with the visuals,” said the Filipino voice director.

“The Filipino dub had to be cast according to how they (English cast) started it.” 

There were also a few terms that didn’t exactly have a direct Tagalog translation. Baldonado Jr. cites the word “Underworld” which loosely translates to “Impyerno.” In the context of the series, “Impyerno” doesn’t exactly capture how “Underworld” was used as the place where all the monsters and ghouls came from.

This is also the reason why it’s primarily called the Filipino version. Because the team pulled from other languages in the country which fits the context of the words used in English better.

Does the Emissary give you an eerie feeling?

Working with Liza Soberano

Naturally, these same challenges applied to Liza Soberano who played Alexandra Trese in the Filipino version. Soberano was very much aware of her voice quality, tone, and twang according to Baldonado Jr.

“She knows where she’s coming from and she knows what she needs to work on,” said Baldonado Jr. “She was trying to focus on three things (voice, language skills in Filipino, and acting).”

Baldonado Jr., who is a 23-year veteran in the localization and voice dubbing industry, provided exercises for Soberano to address all these. The pair aimed for a voice with a lower register and one that sounded more stiff which, the voice director said, was in contrast with Soberano’s natural tone.

The voice director was very much aware of the criticisms online. But he remained cheerful and positive throughout the media conference. However, he lamented that he wished he had more time to polish the work with Soberano.

What’s up with all the accents? 

Noticeable in the English version is the variety of accents by the characters. Shay Mitchell, who played Alexandra Trese in the English dub, mostly maintained her American accent. But the rest of the cast added more to the mix. Series writer and co-producer Tanya Yuson and English voice director Wes Gleason said this was by design.

“The accents vary, I think, as we found a neutral, what we call ‘Manila accent’, but that’s because our melting pot is from different people with different backgrounds,” said Gleason.

“Some of their relatives or references might have been a little stronger with an accent or a little more in one region than the other. So, I think our show kind of shows that diversity, and hopefully in a good way,” he added.

Yuson backs up the melting pot analogy.

“It’ll be the first time an international audience would hear, on a wide platform, English spoken with that flavor,” said Yuson.

“It would be weirder to me if it’s in English language set in Manila and then you have, either it’s very American or British. The diversity for accents in Manila, anyway, is a lot… we wanted to present that in a way that’s also accessible to an international audience,” she added.

Strength behind a Filipino cast

The influence of the Filipino cast for the English version didn’t stop with just the accents. Everyone from Manny Jacinto (The Good Place) to Lou Diamond Philipps (La Bamba) pulled from stories from their relatives and loved ones about Philippine folklore involved to bring the characters to life.

Authenticity was the primary driving force in the casting decisions. That’s on top of the voices fitting the characters according to Gleason.

“A lot of the actors had familiarity with the folklore in the Philippines. They were coming in with tales of their mothers scaring them. The mananngals, the tiyanaks, the duwende, all these things. Everyone had their own little tale to tell.”

Gleason, who naturally had to do his research on the folklore, leaned on the casts’ experiences to help shape the voice direction.

“Anyone who had that background but was also giving us great options for the read, we gravitated towards them.”

A few more fun nuggets from the conference

Manny Jacinto, who plays Maliksi, may have initially read for Crispin and Basilio as hinted by Gleason.

“He (Jacinto) read for a different role that he was cast for. We heard his approach on one character, or characters — that’s not a spoiler — and hearing that just felt like this role was a better fit.”

Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) was very excited to be part of the cast even telling Gleason, “How can I not be a part of this? My mother would kill me if I’m not a part of this!”

Tanya Yuson said working with just six (6) episodes was pretty challenging. The ideal number of episodes could have gone anywhere from eight (8) to 22. However, they made sure that even with just six episodes, they could set-up the world and still have a satisfying ending.

Watch Trese on Netflix.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Gadget Reviews

Trending